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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

Tehran; Solitary; Night Terrors

By: Jacob Reina


Tonight, your palms will handle your brush,

Whose bristles will break many black knots.

Blonde streaks, born to experiments of beauty,

Will conceive new pride before being veiled.

You will remove your foreign graphic tee,

Revealing nature, your treasured olive tone.

You will drop it on the carpet, save for noon,

Go to work groggy in stiff night shift scrubs.

And glimpse the crescent moon and lonely star,

Smile, for a moment, then curse it all the same.

Care for ailing patients who often hate your eyes,

Large, brown and brilliant, bleeding Mercy's rain.

Cry during dinner, and miss your mother's meals,

Which nurtured your hungry heart, beaten faith.

With every pause for tears, she’ll caress you again,

Softly brushing, breaking knots. Hey, shh, I’m here.


Silence seeps from underneath my pillow,

Pouring down onto the mock-wood floor.

Facing the truth of its echoes off my walls,

What else can my ears take from you tonight?

Silence finishes with the first fallen leaves,

Lining the fences and my neighbor's wood.

Wanting to love even that old dog's whimper,

What else can my ears take from you tonight?

Silence sings after the last leaf's crunch,

Caking the window sill as autumn dust.

Daring to dream for even a new winter wind,

What else can my ears take from you tonight?

Silence fakes as some loneliness of the soul,

Saving the coldest thoughts for freezing nights.

Nodding off to sleep with laughter at its war,

What else can my ears take from you tonight?

Night Terrors

Grief is a neglected wound,

Born in a room with withered roses,

Old cherub paintings hung over vases,

Trophies dusty with sports clippings faded,

Cross-stitched lilacs in rusted frames,

And stick-figured families taken away.

The dog howls to Heaven,

Show mercy for one night.


Jacob Reina is an English tutor and full-time student at California State University in Fresno. His poems have been featured in the anthologies Realm of Emotions by Poet's Choice and Aurora, vol. 3 by Allegory Ridge. He was also published online by Prometheus Dreaming.

Behind the Scenes:

Regarding my writing style, August 2021 was a highly experimental month for me. I was particularly interested in experimenting with format, which I think is most clearly seen in "Solitary." On the other hand, my poem "Tehran" was less experimental regarding format, but was the first of many written for someone very dear to me. Lastly, I took inspiration from my own environment to develop the mood of many of my poems. In California, August is the peak of our wildfire season, and the smoky sky makes everything around us look dark. Even indoors everything becomes dark, since almost no sunlight shines through the windows of our homes. This darkness is what led me to write the poem "Night Terrors."

*Night Terrors was originally published by Prometheus Dreaming.


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